Grand Theft Auto

by Hombre

Notes: If I've got any details wrong or there are spelling mistakes, blame me. I can take it. Poor Ezra sure needs to find a better hiding place in cyberspace. He knows what I'm like when I get my hands on him. Watch yer back, Ez! I'm talking literally. This is for everyone who has taken the time and effort to send me feedback. It is much appreciated and please keep them coming because I love hearing from you.

Ezra patted his pockets until he located the one that contained the keys to his Jag. He pulled them out and stood up after finishing the last of his coffee. "Well, this has been a very pleasant evening but I'd better depart because I desire a relatively early start for my drive up to Maude's tomorrow. See you next week, gentlemen," the undercover agent said, little realizing his friends would see him much earlier than that even if he didn't see them.

"You really goin' to bed early, Ez?" Vin drawled. "That must be a first. Sure you ain't stoppin' off at some gamblin' den for an illicit game of poker on the way home?"

"I assure you I am going straight home. I feel rather fatigued and I wouldn't want to fall asleep at the wheel tomorrow during the journey," the undercover agent replied reasonably.

"Just kidding, Ez. I know you're only being a responsible citizen. You enjoy a good safe drive home," the sharpshooter teased as he smiled broadly.

"Give my love to Maude, won't ya?" Josiah requested with a twinkle in his eye.

"I will do no such thing, Mr. Sanchez. Do your own courting. If you're so enamored of her, you can inform her yourself. Please leave me out of the whole sordid affair," Ezra said indignantly as he walked toward the door with a wave and a grin.

His friends settled back, once he'd gone, and continued their conversation over another cup of coffee.

"A whole week without Ez. It's sure gonna be quiet," JD commented loudly after slurping in a mouthful of his drink.

"You'll more than make up for it by the sound of it, JD," Vin laughed as he punched the youngster's arm lightly.

"Ignore him, kid. Anyway you'd all better make the most of Ezra's absence. You never know, he may get fed up with Maude and come home early. You know what those two are like when they get together. Sparks usually fly. Surprised he agreed to spend a whole week with her in the first place," Buck grinned.

The group of men talked companionably for another couple of hours before deciding to head home. Chris paid the bill and waited in the hotel's foyer for JD to join him. The youngster was going to stay with Chris for the night because he was riding one of the blond's horses in a competition the next day. JD finally appeared along with the others and they wandered out into the parking lot.

"Gee, it's got colder," JD said as he shivered and wrapped his arms around his body protectively.

"Well, let's not hang about out here, then. See ya on Monday, guys," Chris said as he put a hand on JD's shoulder and steered him away before he could start talking again.

Buck called after them, "Behave yerself, kid. Don't do anything I wouldn't do."

"Yeah, yeah." The kid waved and then accompanied Chris to the Ram.

The blond got in and started the motor after putting his seatbelt on. He switched on the headlights and looked at the area of lawn that was lit in the beam. He then looked back over his shoulder to make sure it was safe and began to pull out of his parking space slowly when the way was clear. As he reversed, the headlight's beam moved to illuminate other parts of the hotel's gardens with an eerie light.

"Chris! Stop," JD said loudly as he placed a hand on the blond's arm gently.

The blond frowned and did as instructed. "What is it, kid? You forget somethin'?"

"No, I thought I saw something strange in the headlights. Can you move back into the parking space slowly so I can look again?"

Chris nodded and moved forward and kept his eyes fixed on the headlight's beam too. He then saw what JD had noticed and he squinted as he leaned forward to try and distinguish the shape. He sighed in frustration when the image didn't get any clearer. The shape was slightly obscured from full view by some shrubs so the blond decided to investigate further. He left the Ram's motor running and the headlights on as he hopped out of the vehicle nimbly. JD got out as well and the two men walked across the grass together. As the blond drew nearer he broke into a run when he realized what he was looking at. He came to a sliding halt and dropped to his knees beside his undercover agent's body.

"Ezra?" he called as he touched the prone man's shoulder gently. He then turned to JD and said, "Well done for spotting him, JD. You did real well, kid." The blond turned back to the injured man anxiously again. "Ezra? Can you hear me? Shit! JD, see if Nate's left already. He's in real bad shape."

"Sure." The youngster turned and hurried to find the medic as Chris called for an ambulance. The blond looked down at Ezra's pale battered features again and cursed.

Meanwhile, Nathan was driving toward the exit to join the freeway. He looked in his rearview mirror and saw the shadowy outline of someone waving his or her arms frantically in the air. He stopped and pulled over curiously. He heard the sound of crunching footsteps on the gravel and JD suddenly appeared at the window.

"Nate? You gotta come quick. It's Ezra." The youngster didn't wait to see if Nathan obeyed but set off back in the direction he'd appeared from.

The medic climbed out of the Explorer and broke into a run to catch up. What about Ezra? he wondered. He left hours ago. Nathan saw JD head across the grass and then spotted Chris kneeling on the ground beside someone. The medic quickened his pace immediately in concern and reached the blond fast. He looked down and saw Ezra curled up on his side with a large knife protruding from his back.

"Shit!" Nathan dropped to his knees and studied the area where the knife had gone in. He could feel something cold soaking his pants at the knees and he knew it was blood. He looked down and saw the grass looked brown instead of green in the Ram's headlights.

"He's been beaten too, Nate. Looks like he put up a hell of a fight," Chris said angrily.

"Yeah, I can see. Whatever happened, the knife put an end to it all. He's been stabbed once near his kidneys and that blow probably sent him to his knees. The knife was then plunged into his back again and Ez couldn't have fought back after that. The knife's gone very close to his heart, Chris. It's got at least a six inch blade judging by the size of the hilt."

"Godammit. JD? See if Ezra's car has gone 'cause his keys definitely ain't here. See if theft is the reason for this."

The youngster disappeared once more and came back breathlessly accompanied by the remainder of his friends. They'd seen the static headlights and come to investigate.

"Yeah, it's gone, Chris," JD confirmed quietly.

"Shit. Vin, JD. Go and find out if the hotel staff saw anything suspicious. See if they've had any other thefts too and put out an APB on Ezra's car too." Chris turned back to Nathan after issuing his orders. "How is he?"

"Bad. Lost a lot of blood. If he wakes, which I'm doubtful he will, I need to keep him still. The knife is very close to his heart as I said before and one false move could kill him." The medic then turned his attention back to the injured man and said, "Ezra? Can you hear me? It's Nathan." He knew he wouldn't get a response but he had to try. "Buck? Can you get me the first aid box out of the Ram?"

"Sure thing." The tall man hurried to the vehicle and returned with the requested item.

Nathan opened it up and began doing what he could for the injured agent. The medic was worried because he knew Ezra had been lying outside for a couple of hours already. He focused totally on the job at hand and ignored the other men's intermittent questions. His friends stood around anxiously and watched the medic working feverishly to stem the flow of blood from Ezra's body. Although Chris had done what he could for the injured man he was nowhere near as skilled as Nathan. Josiah eventually heard the ambulance's siren and he moved to direct it as near to Ezra as he could.

The paramedics ran to the huddle of men on the grass and took over from Nathan after first getting the facts. They spent a long time getting the undercover agent stabilized before finally moving him to the emergency vehicle.

Vin and JD arrived back at exactly that moment and reported that the hotel had experienced several vehicle thefts over the past few weeks. JD also confirmed that he'd put a call out on the Jag and that the police would contact him if it was found.

The men then followed behind the ambulance as they had done on numerous occasions in the past. They arrived at the hospital and went through to the waiting room. Nathan though accompanied Ezra to see what was going to happen to him and he came back after a while looking grim.

"Nate?" Buck asked anxiously as he stood and placed a comforting hand on his back.

"They've taken some x-rays of the knife's position and it's actually resting against his heart. They've just taken him up for surgery but it's gonna be difficult to get it out without doing serious damage. It could kill him, Bucklin."

"Damn. What do you really think his chances are?" Chris asked solemnly from where he was listening.

"Look, he's pretty sick after the amount of blood he's lost and the knife wound to his kidney area was very deep too. He's critically ill, Chris."

JD's pager beeped at that moment and the youngster looked at the message and walked outside into the open air. He pulled out his phone and punched in the required number. After having quite a long conversation he returned to the waiting room and approached Chris. "They've found Ezra's car."

"Buck? Go with JD and check it out. I want those bastards caught," Chris snarled with a steely look on his face. "Keep me informed."

The two named men walked out and drove to the area where the Jag had been abandoned.

"Why steal it and just leave it after what they did to Ez?" JD asked quietly.

"I don't know, Kid. Let's see what we can find out." Buck approached the forensics team and showed his ID. "Hi, I'm Buck Wilmington and I'm an ATF agent. This car belongs to one of my teammates and he's currently in the hospital after the bastards who stole it stabbed him. Have you got any leads yet?"

"Found a few fingerprints but we don't know who they belong to yet. The police are also checking some CCTV films from the area to see if they can catch the culprits in the act of dumping the car."

"Are they being looked at now?" Buck asked eagerly.


"Where? I want to see them too," the ladies' man demanded.

"They've got them at the local police precinct. I'll ring ahead and let them know to expect you if you like."

"Thanks. Here's my number too. Call me if you get anything about the fingerprints or learn something else that may be of use to us."

"Sure. Tell me, is your friend badly hurt?" the man inquired as he studied the two serious-looking men in front of him.

"Yeah. Fighting for his life," Buck replied solemnly.

"I'll call as soon as I get anything, I promise."

The two ATF agents headed to the police precinct and were sent through to see the films. They sat quietly and watched every minute and their patience was rewarded. They saw the two thieves dump the car and walk away from the vehicle as if they owned it, even locking the doors after them. The pictures weren't too clear so JD set about trying to enhance the quality so they could hopefully identify the thieves.


Back at the hospital, Nathan came back after checking the progress being made to remove the knife from Ezra's back. "They got it out but he's hemorrhaging badly. His heart wasn't touched but the blade had done major damage to other areas on its way in and out."

"Jesus Christ," Chris said as he turned to look out the window with unseeing eyes. He remained motionless, for once, as he stared into the distance and thought back over events angrily.

He was still there an hour later when a doctor appeared and smiled wearily. "We've got the bleeding under control but that loss combined with what he's already lost means he's very sick. He's on life support and I really can't say if, or when, he'll come off it."

"Can I see him?" Chris asked impatiently. He'd barely managed to keep his cool during the long wait for news of his agent.

"No, I'm sorry not yet. He's really not well enough."

"Doc," Chris interrupted insistently as he put a hand on the man's arm.

The doctor held up his hand and shook his head negatively. "No. Not until we're satisfied with his condition."

Chris scowled. "Look, can't I just look through the window? I won't get in the way and I really need to see him."

The doctor stopped on his journey to the door and considered the request. He turned back and nodded. "Okay but five minutes only. No more."

"Thanks, that's all I ask. I really appreciate it."

Chris followed the doctor out and his sneakers squeaked with every step he took on the shiny floor. The sound seemed out of place in the quiet hallway and he was glad when he reached his destination and could stand quietly. He took up position outside Ezra's room and looked through the glass anxiously. The area around the undercover agent's bed was cluttered with machines and the blond shivered. He hated not being able to offer comfort to his friend by either the sound of his voice or the touch of his hand. He wanted Ezra to know that they were all there and willing him to survive. He put his hand on the window and traced the outline of Ezra's face on the glass with one finger as he continued to stare unblinkingly at the man in the bed. Although transparent, the window was still a formidable barrier between him and his agent. He may as well have been a hundred miles away for all the good his presence outside the room was doing. He sighed unhappily and stayed his allotted five
e minutes before heading back to the waiting room.

"Chris?" Josiah asked as soon as he entered the room.

The blond shook his head and sat down silently.

The profiler took a seat beside him and said, "I called Maude to tell her what happened. I shoulda done it earlier."

"Thanks, Josiah. I hope next time you call her it will be with good news but I have my doubts."

"Don't say that Chris. You know Ez is as tough as they come and he won't give up without a fight. He fought hard enough to stay alive after they stabbed him. To lie there for two hours when he coulda just given up takes a rare type of inner strength," the big man said as he rubbed Chris's back gently.

"I don't know what strength he's got left to fight with now, Josiah. He looked lifeless when I saw him just now," the blond admitted as he sat back and ran both hands through his hair slowly.

The sound of alarms stopped the conversation and the four agents saw members of the medical staff hurrying toward Ezra's room. Nathan rose immediately and ran after them to see what was wrong. He returned ten minutes later with more bad news.

"He started bleeding internally again. They've taken him up for surgery but God knows if he'll survive it. They think one of his arteries may have had a weakness in it, which could have affected him at any time under stress. After the impact of his injuries now though, it couldn't deal with the extra pressure it was being put under and ruptured."

"Jesus Christ," Chris said quietly. "Josiah? I think you'd better start calling in a few favors from the good Lord. Sounds like Ez is gonna need him."

Two anxious hours later Ezra was returned to his room. The doctor settled him in and then made his way to see the injured man's four friends. He smiled at Chris as he entered the room and said, "He's still with us. He must have the constitution of an ox 'cause I really thought we'd lost him. He's still on life support and will be for the foreseeable future. Just hope nothing like this happens again 'cause I don't think we'll be so lucky next time."

Josiah patted Chris's back and the two men smiled at one another. God had come through for them once more. Not that Chris particularly believed in God but he wasn't averse to asking for all the help he could get, from whatever quarter, at times like these. He just hoped that their good fortune would continue.

"Thanks for all you're doing, doctor," Chris said appreciatively. "Kinda got used to having him around and I guess we'd feel like a three-legged dog if we lost him. Still able to function but not quite complete. You know what I mean?"

"Yes, I do," the doctor replied as he patted Chris's shoulder.


Buck and JD finally matched names to their suspects after much searching and they set off immediately to track them down. Buck paged Chris and the blond phoned back within minutes. The two men exchanged information and Buck eventually disconnected with a loud sigh.

"What did he say, Buck? How's Ez?" JD asked anxiously as he saw the look on the tall man's face.

"He's on life support, kid. He's real sick."

"Bastards. All for a car. A human life's worth more than that, ain't it?" JD asked sourly.

"Just keep yer cool, kid. Don't let what happened to Ezra cloud yer judgment. We need to catch 'em clean and legal. We don't wanna let them get away with this 'cause we were too rough. You know what lawyers are like. They can get someone off a charge over the stupidest things."

"I know. You stay calm too 'cause I know what you're like. You can be as bad as Chris when you lose your temper," the youngster observed.

"I'll keep a lid on my feelings, don't you worry about that, JD."

The men drove to their first suspect's address and parked opposite. They knocked on the property's front door several times but inevitably the man wasn't there. Buck looked up and down the street and then looked at his watch thoughtfully. "Let's stay here and see if he comes home. I'll see if some of the other guys can go to the second address."

The two men wandered back to their parked car and climbed in to wait. Buck pulled out his phone and managed to get hold of Vin. The ladies' man gave the details of what he wanted and Vin agreed to go and stake out the other house with Josiah. Buck disconnected and sat back quietly and prayed that the man they wanted would turn up soon. He really wanted to get back to the hospital to see Ezra.

After two hours had passed, JD poked Buck in the ribs and pointed to a man who was approaching the house. Buck pulled out the photo he had in his pocket and compared it with the new-arrival. He nodded to the youngster and they both exited the vehicle and hurried across the street. They managed to get to the man before he could get inside the property.

Buck planted himself on the doorstep so the man couldn't enter and JD took up position close behind their suspect. The ladies' man held out his ID and said, "Excuse me, can I have a word? I'm an ATF agent. Are you Barry Miles?"

The man fixed Buck with a stare and then looked back over his shoulder at JD before replying, "Why do ya wanna know?"

"We've got you on film in a stolen car. The car belongs to a friend of ours who was stabbed when the car was taken. Would you know anything about that?"

"No, it wasn't me. You're mistaken," Barry replied defiantly as looked back at JD again.

"Well, can you tell us who this is in this photo then? He looks remarkably like you," Buck snarled as he held up the photo within an inch of Barry's nose.

"No, I don't know nothing," the man looked round for a means of escape but JD had drawn his gun and held it unwaveringly in the man's direction.

"Well, come and tell us all about the 'nothing you don't know' down at the local police precinct. You're under arrest for attempted murder, pal," Buck said and then read the man his rights as JD cuffed him quickly. They received no resistance for which Buck was surprised but grateful. After what had happened to Ezra he had expected trouble. He just hoped Vin and Josiah were having a similarly easy time. They could do without anyone else being injured.

They took Barry to the car and JD got in the back with him while Buck climbed in the driver's seat. One down, one to go, the youngster thought as he kept a close eye on his prisoner.


Vin and Josiah, meanwhile, headed to the second man's address as instructed by Buck. As they pulled up outside they saw their man getting into a sports car further down the street.

"Dammit. Hold on tight, Josiah. That bastard ain't gonna get away," Vin promised quietly.

The sharpshooter pulled out into the traffic once more and followed the car at speed. He managed to keep the other vehicle in sight all the time and fortunately there wasn't much traffic about to get in his way. They traveled several miles through the city's streets until the man they were chasing finally lost control of his car and crashed into an abandoned building.

Vin pulled in quickly behind it with screeching tires and both agents jumped out and approached cautiously with guns drawn. The occupant suddenly leapt out of the passenger side and tried to run away but Vin immediately gave chase after snapping off a quick shot in his direction. The man ducked down a side street and disappeared from sight so Vin increased his pace to catch up. He turned the corner just in time to see his quarry jump a wire fence down an alley and fall awkwardly on the other side. The sharpshooter leapt the same obstacle with ease and was on the injured man before he could recover his feet properly.

The man was propelled back to the ground and the sharpshooter stuck his gun against the back of his head as he patted him down for weapons. Vin didn't find any but he did come across a familiar set of keys. He growled angrily at the sight of them and kept them balled in his fist. Josiah had caught up by this time and he cuffed the man and read him his rights as Vin kept the suspect covered from a distance.

The sharpshooter then moved forward and pulled their prisoner to his feet and shoved him back hard against the wall. "You can join yer friend in jail for attempted murder unless you wanna tell us anything. Who knifed the man whose Jag you stole?"

"I don't know what yer talking about. I never stole nothin'," the man shouted as he struggled to get free.

"Really? How come you had the keys to his car in yer pocket then?" Vin asked as he dangled the jangling bunch in front of the man's face. "Perhaps you can also tell me why yer bloody fingerprints were found on the weapon and the car," Vin continued angrily as he slammed the man back against the wall again.

"Barry stabbed him, not me. I only touched the knife after he dropped it on the ground when he left that man for dead. That interfering fancy bastard shoulda butted out and then he wouldn't have got hurt. It was his own fault, he asked for it."

"You're a damn liar. The knife was still in his back when we found him. Barry didn't drop it and for you information that fancy bastard, as you called him, happens to be a good friend and colleague of ours," Vin snarled.

The sharpshooter pulled the man roughly back toward the car and drove him to the same precinct Barry had been taken to. The man immediately asked for a lawyer so the two agents left him there in police care until the legal man had arrived. Vin and Josiah then drove back quickly to the hospital and ran through to the waiting room to find their four friends there.

"Any news?" Vin asked as he looked at the blond nervously.

"No. Still won't let anyone sit with him. How did you get on?" Chris asked.

"Got him. Just waiting for a lawyer."

"Buck and JD got their man to and he's also asked for a lawyer. They're gonna need one after what they did. Least they're under lock and key so we can concentrate on Ezra for the time being," Chris said and then looked up as he heard the sound of footsteps in the hallway.

The doctor walked in and beckoned Chris toward him. "Mr. Larabee? You can sit with him now, if you like. Just you though because he's still very sick."

"Thanks." Chris stood and followed along after him and entered Ezra's room quickly.

He sat beside his friend after patting his arm. "Come on, Ez. We got yer car back and caught the bastards who stabbed you. Now all I need is for you to wake up. Maude's worried about you and threatening to come down to see ya. Please wake up so she don't." Chris smiled but saw there was no response from the man in the bed.

Chris dozed fitfully in between bouts of talking to the injured man and four hours later Ezra finally stirred. Chris was asleep but something alerted him to the fact that the situation in the room had changed. He opened his eyes and rubbed his brow roughly as he looked at the bed and saw Ezra's eyes flicker.

"Ez? Can you hear me?" Chris asked as he rose rapidly.

The undercover agent's eyelids continued to move but didn't open properly so Chris reached out and put the palm of his hand against Ezra's cheek. Finally the dark-haired man peeled his eyes open after feeling the gentle touch and he blinked rapidly as he squinted painfully against the light.

"Ez? Stay with me. Yer doin' just fine," Chris said encouragingly as his heart pounded in relief.

The undercover agent closed his eyes but opened them again almost straight away. He eventually managed to focus on the blond and Chris smiled at him.

"Just stay awake Ez and I'll get the doc." The blond hurried out and came back within minutes with the doctor.

The man checked Ezra over thoroughly and then turned to Chris. "We'll take him off life support but leave him on the ventilator for the moment. He's doing well all things considered. Do you mind stepping outside while we see to him?"

Chris took advantage of the break and went back to the waiting room and gave the good news to his waiting companions. He stayed with them until he was allowed back to see Ezra again an hour later. He then sent the other men home so they could take over from him later on. JD and Buck, meanwhile, headed back to the police precinct to begin questioning the suspects now their lawyers had arrived.


An hour after he took a seat beside his friend Chris saw Ezra's eyes open once more. He rose and leant over the man as he put a hand on his shoulder. "Ez? How ya feeling?"

The undercover agent looked up with unfocussed eyes and then flexed the fingers on his left hand as he closed his eyes again. Chris grabbed the appendage and squeezed it gently as he continued watching the man closely.

"Ez? Come on now. I really need you to give me a sign that yer gonna beat this." Chris felt the pressure on his hand increase slightly and he smiled. The blond quickly moved his other hand to Ezra's head and stroked his hair gently. "Ezra? Open your eyes. I know you can hear me," Chris said clearly. "Dammit Standish, do as yer told for once."

Ezra heard Chris's familiar voice and forced his eyelids open to obey the order. He blinked rapidly several times and finally settled his gaze on his friend's face.

"There ya go, Ez. See what you can do when you put yer mind to it?" Chris said quietly as he stroked Ezra's hair once more in relief.

The doctor happened to be walking by the door and looked in when he heard Chris's voice. He smiled when he saw Ezra was awake and decided to use the opportunity to check the man's progress again. "Hello, Mr. Standish. I'm just going to have another look at you but I should think you can come off the ventilator now."

Chris stood and watched silently and was pleased when the doctor's prophecy came true. The blond took back his place beside Ezra after the doctor had gone and said, "Bet that feels better Ez, don't it?"

Ezra smiled as he fell asleep and the next time he woke up, a full day and a half later, Josiah was beside him. The big man heard the undercover agent sigh loudly as he opened his eyes slowly after his prolonged rest.

"Hello son. You've missed three other visitors you know. Yer doin' an awful lot of sleeping," the profiler informed him quietly.

"Apologies, Mr. Sanchez. One visitor wasn't Maude, perchance?" Ezra asked with a dry, croaking voice as he raised a shaking hand to his head.

"No unfortunately not, Ez," Josiah replied as he gave the man a drink to help lubricate his throat.

"Thank Heaven for small mercies," Ezra groaned as the big man settled him back on the pillows gently.

"Don't be like that, Ez. You know I'd have been pleased to see her even if you weren't."

"Yes, I know that but the thought of you drooling over her is rather a disturbing thought for someone in my condition, Mr. Sanchez," Ezra admitted and then coughed painfully.

"You know I'd gladly marry her," Josiah teased as he rubbed the man's arm comfortingly.

"Oh please. Do you take pleasure in torturing injured people?" Ezra asked in a plaintive tone.

"I'm a persistent man when I want something so you'd better get used to the idea of us becoming husband and wife, Ezra."

"Oh dear Lord." Ezra yawned and said quietly as he closed his eyes once more, "Oh well, you asked for it, Josiah. Goodnight Pa."

"Goodnight son," Josiah replied as he laughed and ruffled Ezra's hair lightly.

The End

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